According to reports, when the first rockered, or reverse cambered skis came on the market, there were sceptic murmurings, and even hushed laughter from the corridors of the establishment. Who the ski establishment are, or even if they have a building, let alone corridors, isn’t exactly clear, and neither is it relevant. The point is that as Shane McConkey flew down an Alaskan face on his water-skis to prove that reverse camber skis might actually work, there were some who looked on with condescending smirks at this ‘ridiculous’ idea.
Of course as with the twin tip revolution, rocker technology has since taken off, and as skiunion reported, at ISPO this year there was hardly a brand out there who hadn’t gone for a rockered ski, in some cases even on their more consumer friendly models rather than just the specialist backcountry range. Indeed, rockered technology has found it’s way into the park, in the Armada Alpha series, the big mountain in front rockered skis like the Dynastar Big Dump, and even into the all-mountain category in skis such as the Salomon Lord and Czar.
The rocker technology that we are now seeing applied by almost every ski brand had humble beginnings, and like a lot of good ideas came from the ingenious minds of ski bums like the late Shane McConkey. Rumour has it that he would drill holes in the tip and tail of his skis, attach a high tension cable and bend his skis to the shape he desired. It was only years later that he persuaded his then sponsors, Volant, and more recently K2 to build rockered skis for the masses, and as a result spark off one of the most important technological advances in the backcountry scene since the evolution of the fat ski.
With this in mind skiunion decided it was time for their own little experiment. So with the help of a few logs we found, some gaffer tape, and an old pair of skis we are going to build our own set of rockered skis – the ski bum way!
Rockered ski recipe:
Ingredients: An old pair of skis (well beaten), gaffer tape (one role), logs.
Step 1: Grasp the old skis between the bindings and force the edges together, then with the help of a friend, gaffer the skis together. We recommend multiple wraps for the best result.
Step 2: Repeat step 1 above and below the binding at the rough point you want the rocker to begin.
Step 3: grab the nearest log, get your mate to pull the skis apart at the tail, and firmly ram the log between the skis, pushing it down as far as your strength will allow, or if you are really strong, as far as the gaffer tape will allow without tearing.
Step 4: Repeat step 3 at the tip.
Step 5: leave for a couple of weeks and cross your fingers.
Will this stupid plan work, maybe not, or probably, depending on which idiot at the office you ask. There are only two certainties here, firstly, the technicians at skiunion will either be vindicated or humiliated (and then promptly fired), and secondly, whoever owns the pair of P4’s that we found in the cupboard and then used for this experiment, will not be best pleased. We’ll let you know how it all turns out in a couple of weeks.